WINIT Adds 100 HAI Robotics Systems to U.K. Warehouse Operation

HAI Robotics UK400x275

October 9, 2022

WINIT, a China-based cross-border e-commerce warehousing operator, has announced it added 100 HAI Robotics robots to their facility in the U.K. The operator said the robots helped the company improve workflow efficiencies 3x to 4x over previously manual operations, compressed storage density by 60%, increased picking efficiency by 50%, and perfected on-time order delivery to nearly 100%.

WINIT is a Shanghai-based provider of full warehousing and logistical solutions for cross-border e-commerce that serves the U.S., Australia, and several European countries. The total size of its warehouses around the world exceeds 399,000 square meters (over 4,300,000 square feet). In the UK alone, WINIT runs three warehouses with the total combined footprint reaching 51,000 square meters (over 164,000 square feet).

The U.K. facility in Tamworth, Staffordshire, a town near Birmingham in central U.K., was confronted with expanding challenges as the demand for global warehousing services surged dramatically due to the growth of cross-border e-commerce businesses in the past two years. Statistics indicate that in 2021, Chinese cross-border trade volume amounted to ¥1.98 trillion yuan (around $283.37 billion dollars), up 15% compared to the year before, and this volume is expected to reach ¥2.5 trillion yuan (around $357.66 billion dollars) by 2025, according to figures released by China last year.

WINIT said it also needed to address challenges of managing a vast number of SKUs which increased the need for warehouse storage density and order-picking efficiency. To successfully address this, in 2021 WINIT chose HAI ROBOTICS to automate its order-fulfillment center operations.

Workflow Solution

HAI ROBOTICS, which develops Autonomous Case-picking Robotic (ACR) systems, created and implemented an automated solution for WINIT that increased their storage density, automated material handling workflows for maximum efficiency, and improved storage volume.

One hundred robots were deployed in WINIT’s Tamworth warehouse. The tall autonomous robots driven by AI algorithms operate through the 10,000 square meters (around 108,000 square-foot) facility, bringing goods to workstations where operators pick and sort goods with maximum efficiency, WINIT said.

This solution not only included the deployment of 100 HAIPICK A42 robots, it contained 16 on-conveyor workstations for order picking that are ergonomically designed for operators to fulfill orders more accurately, with increased speed, and with lower effort.

Becky, a warehouse operator, said that with the help of the robots, she could stay in the workstation and just wait for the robots to pick and carry goods back and forth to her workstation. She no longer walks thousands of steps indoors to pick orders. “Getting goods now is like getting something at my fingertips,” she said. “[The robots] make my work much easier. Now I don’t need to move around and bend my waist. Everything is easy.”

The robotic solution allowed the facility to increase the average worker efficiency rates to 450 cases per hour, and increased the daily handling volume up to 50,000 pieces. The goods-handling efficiency rate for the warehouse was improved three to four times over the previously manual processes and the picking efficiency rate of operators fulfilling orders was increased by 50%.

Storage Density

In addition to efficiency improvements, HAI ROBOTICS’ ACR solution improved WINIT’s U.K. facility storage density by 60%, increasing the storage capacity to 120,000 storage locations. This allows the facility to effectively store and manage over 100,000 SKUs within the facility they already owned.

Resilience

Since the HAI ROBOTICS’ automated robotic solution has gone live, WINIT said it saw a spike in its facility throughput and was able to successfully manage surging order-fulfillment requests driven by the online shopping boom over the last two years. With the help of HAI ROBOTICS, the overall service and operation of WINIT has not been significantly affected despite the disruptions to the global supply chain since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2021 when the pandemic was still in full swing and online ordering was reaching unprecedented rates, this period demonstrated the critical value of flexible, automated warehousing solutions that can be swiftly deployed. WINIT said it found HAI ROBOTICS’ solution to be the ideal fit to provide high storage density, superior goods-handling accuracy, and operation efficiency that provides easy flexibility to adapt to changes in demand.

“These smart robots have well met our expectations,” says Bob, the Warehouse General Manager at WINIT’s Tamworth facility. “We picked HAI ROBOTICS as our autonomous robot supplier among several other companies because it is one of the first developers. Its system has better stability than that of others, and its staff is professional. So, we chose them.”

Alleviating Labor Woes

“The labor shortage in the UK is particularly apparent now,” Bob added. “Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic have had dire consequences for the warehouse and logistics sector. Experienced employees are leaving and it’s hard to fill in new ones. As a result, our labor cost surged too.”

For more details on HAI Robotics, visit its website here.


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